1 Mar 2010

Rongelap Islanders wary of US claim island cleared of contamination

8:10 pm on 1 March 2010

Some Marshall Islanders question whether their nuclear radiation exposed home island is safe enough to return to live on.

Today is the 56th anniversary of the nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll, that exposed many, including Rongelap Islanders, to radiation.

The Rongelap islanders evacuated their island 25 years ago worried about the ongoing health effects, but the US Congress is now urging them to return by the end of next year.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, reports the US has cleaned up the island and developed the infrastructure, but the islanders are not convinced that it's safe.

"Rongelap Islanders as far as I know have no independent scientists on board to evaluate the US government assurances of safety. So this is a big issue for people who want to go back, because people do want to go home, but the big concern still is assurances of its safety."

Giff Johnson